Victims of crime come from all walks of life and socio-economic groups. Crime victims are not only from vulnerable populations, they live in every neighbourhood and can be any age, gender or ethnicity. The Victims of Crime Fund (VOCF) provides funding for financial benefits paid to eligible victims of violent crime for physical and/or emotional injuries suffered. It also provides grant funding primarily to police-based Victim Services Units (VSUs) and specialized community-based assistance programs, to deliver programs that benefit victims during their involvement with the criminal justice process, as legislated under the Victims of Crime Act.
What we examined
We examined whether the department has adequate systems to manage the fund and meet the mandate set out in the Victims of Crime Act through:
- availability of adequate funding
- effectiveness of the financial benefits and grant processes
- effectiveness of management’s process to determine if desired results are being achieved
The department and VOCF program have adequate systems and processes to manage the day-to-day administration of the fund. However, the department is not completing the necessary strategic planning, analysis and reporting to establish desired results, and the resources necessary to achieve those results.
There is also no plan how to appropriately and productively use the fund’s growing accumulated surplus to best meet the needs of Albertans as intended by the Act. The government’s and department’s current budget process treats the fund like any other generally funded program even though it is self-financing and has its own independent funding source. Business and budgeting practices are potentially restricting operating decisions intended to better serve victims of crime.